The Eagles season has officially ended and now the focus will shift to the offseason and improving positions of need on the team. There isn’t a position that needs upgrading more than wide receiver for the Eagles. With the most recent news from Howie Roseman’s end-of-year press conference where he doubled down on Jalen Hurts and claimed he will be the starter for next year, the Eagles need to focus on giving him the right weapons to succeed.
Howie Roseman says Jalen Hurts will be the #Eagles starting QB in 2022. pic.twitter.com/vqeRvNGiug
— Eagles Nation (@PHLEaglesNation) January 19, 2022
Free agency and the draft will provide avenues to do so, and other than linebacker and corner, the main goal of the offseason has to be getting another receiver to pair with Devonta Smith that can contribute right away. Other than free agency and the draft, there is another option for the Eagles to dramatically improve their pass catching group. And this option provides a better player than any of those would.
In Week 8, we saw Falcons star receiver Calvin Ridley step away from football indefinitely. Ridley has cited his mental health as the main reason for stepping away from the game, and did not return for the rest of the year. While being away from the team, reports have confirmed that Ridley was not keeping in constant contact with the team, and there was very little to no communication with him and the Falcons. This lack of communication with the team has led people to believe that Ridley will be looking for a change of scenery this offseason.
Falcons trading WR Calvin Ridley is a ‘very strong possibility’ https://t.co/k96cq0KmWI
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) January 17, 2022
The 4 year pro has racked up 248 receptions for 3342 yards and 28 touchdowns in only 49 games. This year was slated to be his breakout campaign, with longtime Falcon stud Julio Jones heading to Tennessee this past offseason. Some early season struggles and his indefinite absence cut his season short, but there’s no denying he’s one of the better talents at the position in the entire league.
So could the Eagles actually go and make a move for such a high end receiver? It might be more realistic than you think.
Multiple plugged-in NFL sources have cited the Eagles as the top landing spot for the All-Pro receiver. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports has the Eagles as his most realistic and likely trade candidate for Ridley in a recent column.
“ General manager Howie Roseman is as eager to trade as anyone, especially when the target is a potential long-term weapon. Better yet, Philly is on the verge of contending, and Ridley played with both QB Jalen Hurts and fellow WR DeVonta Smith at Alabama. The Eagles are also loaded with draft capital.”
He hits on two key points. The connection with DeVonta Smith and Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles immense amount of draft capital. The Eagles are more than equipped to make a trade like this, and the Alabama connection is just another reason why the Eagles should pursue Ridley heavily.
Jalen Reagor and a 2nd for Calvin Ridley.
Work your magic, Howie. #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/FIAY5x7IpL
— Bryce Zielinski (@zbryce21) January 19, 2022
Another well connected NFL Network Reporter Steve Wyche was the one who started the trade buzz for Ridley when he suggested that Ridley could be “ looking for a fresh start.” When asked about Ridley’s future with the team, here’s what Wyche had to say:
“I don’t know everything that’s going on here, but for him not to service and for the team not to say anything about him all season long..leads me to believe that at some point maybe his side is like ‘he needs a fresh start’. I don’t know if that’s going to happen but yeah, this is the type of scenario where I think it’s going to be a fresh start for him someplace else.”
His comments lead me to believe that Ridley’s struggles coupled with his decision to step away from football will lead him to a different team this offseason. There are obviously going to be a lot of suitors if Ridley officially requests a trade, but the Eagles are near the top of the list if not the #1 choice.
Howie Roseman said putting talent around Jalen will be a priority this offseason.
Save to say they'll be in on options like Calvin Ridley, Mike Williams, and Allen Robinson.#Eagles
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) January 19, 2022
If Ridley were to become available, I think Howie Roseman would prioritize getting him to Philly. With some spotty draft history at the position in past years, it makes infinitely more sense to secure the sure thing in Ridley. Ridley would immediately become this team’s #1 receiver, and would be a perfect type of player to pair with DeVonta Smith. He would help Jalen Hurts take his game to the next level, and if the Eagles are truly sticking with Jalen Hurts for 2022, they need to start acting like it.
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